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Housing rights of cohabiting sole homeowners

This content applies to England & Wales

Situation of cohabiting couples whose relationship has broken down, where one of the cohabitants owns the property and the other does not. Rights to occupy the home under family and housing law, protecting those rights in the short and long term, and financial issues and considerations.

This section refers to all couples, whether heterosexual, lesbian or gay, unless stated otherwise. For most purposes, lesbian or gay couples that have become civil partners are treated in the same way as married heterosexual couples, and their position is dealt with in the section on Married/civil partners: sole owners.

Relationship breakdown law

Overview of the legislation covering relationship breakdown issues. 

What is sole ownership?

A definition of sole ownership. 

Beneficial interest and occupation rights

Cohabitants' rights to occupy the home 

Occupation orders under Family Law Act 1996 for cohabiting couples with a sole owner

Occupation orders that can be granted under the Family Law Act 1996 

Preventing sale or disposal and protecting beneficial interest

How a cohabitant who doesn't own their home may be able to prevent sale or disposal of the home 

Staying in the home after a sale or disposal

Limited circumstances in which it may be possible for a non-owning cohabitant to take action after a sale or disposal by the sole owner. 

Long term occupation options for cohabiting couples with a sole owner

How decisions can be made as to who stays in the home in the long term 

Mortgage payments

This section describes the position regarding mortgage payments for cohabiting sole owners and non-owners. 

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